Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Corals Visably Suffering, Bubble Algae Outbreak, Perfect Levels

Recommended Posts

Hey everyone.

I would make an effort to submit photos tonight of my tank however it's past its bedtime. Over the last month one of my hammer corals has been partially closed most of the time. I continuously checked my levels to be presented with perfect water parameters. I decided that its best if I give it time. Two weeks have passed now, and most unfortunately my tank has spiraled into bubble algae heaven. I have made 2 attempts to remove it, but even with a siphon hose and a scalpel I cannot get to all of it. Within 2-3 days it completely grows back. Today I came home to find that 2 of my 3 sps frags had closed and changed colors to a more dull tint. My rainbow acropora is turning green and another purple/green frag I have has turned a darker blue. There is no polyp extension. My other large hammer coral was also retracted, with my mushroom corals bleached white instead of its normal flesh color, though the green highlights are still prevalent towards the top.  My anemone, or two as it split a month ago, seems unaffected and continues to take up way to much space and sting my zoa's.

My levels, as I said before are perfect under my standards. I am unable to test for phosphates with my current equipment, however I've read elsewhere that bubble algae doesn't need an influx of them to grow.

Salinity 1.025

Alkalinity 7.4 dKH
Calcium 420ppm
Magnesium 1350ppm
Nitrate 0
Nitrite 0
Ammonia 0
Tempature 80.5F

I have calculated my system water volume with rocks to be 14gal. I've been doing a 5 gallon water change every week since I saw the hammer was closed.

My tank is almost a year old now. I've hit many bumps in the road but this is one that I am clueless to the solution. Photos will be submitted tomorrow around lunchtime. Please help.

Edited by Edogg

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Where do you get your water for water changes and top off? Are you using ro/di

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bubble Algae is evil! Eradicating it is nearly impossible, A little bit in the tank adds to biodiversity, a lot of is a nuisance.

Bubble algae can spread extremely quickly if ideal water conditions provide. The test you did NOT list is your phosphates, the one that could give us the best indication as to what is going on. Something in the tank is feeding that bubble algae and your only hope of bringing it down to manageable proportions relys on you finding the root cause.

Do you have a sandbed? if so when was the last time you pulled it an replaced it in a massive nutrient export?
What type of Filtration do you have on this tank?
What is the phosphates at?

The nasty thing in having a nano like that is that you can't have Tangs to pick at it and help in ridding you of the pest, but on the positive note its less rock and coral to have to clean. I would personally spend a day going after it hand picking every piece you can get at and ensure you are using the scalpel to scrape all the remains off the rocks, removing every bit you see, pay extra attention to coral bases & Skeletons (Bubble algae thrives there). Followed by removing your sandbed and sucking up all the crap in a 50% water change.

After that continue to monitor daily, removing any bit you see begin to grow while looking for the source of extra nutrients. You can can Emerald Crabs to assist in knocking some of it down but don't set your expectations high.

There is no miracle tonic, snake oil, or dip that will solve this issue, as well ignore the anecdotal experience of others to avoid "popping" the bubbles in fear of releasing spores, that type of mentality is your damned if you do and your damned if you don't, and will not assist you with this. Just get in there and expect allot of manual maintenance, and if your filtration is lacking it may be better to stick with a bare bottom. Good Luck!

one last thing to this line you posted "I've read elsewhere that bubble algae doesn't need an influx of them to grow"

You are correct it does not need an influx, it just needs a source of food. Excess nutrients are what feed them.

Edited by Exodus
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies.

I've been dreading having to do a maintenance day, but it probably is the best thing I can do. I have a Red Sea Max Nano with base filtration. I consider the skimmer and filter sock very good, but I haven't had the experience of owning much to compare it to. I get my water from an RODI Machine I hookup to my outside garden hose and fill 5 gallon buckets at a time with. I am going to make a permanent station eventually, but for now I have the BRS 4-stage system with no TDS meter. 

Ill update with photos after I do a 50% waterchange, takeout the sand, and remove as much of the algae as I can reach.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Edogg said:

 I consider the skimmer and filter sock very good

How many filter Socks do you own? How often is it getting changed out?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

dreading having to do a maintenance day” and nanos don’t mix well. You might want to look into some form of nutrient export or get more regular with the water changes.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a 5 gallon pico for about 9 months. It ran beautifully the entire time. I just had to do 20% water changes every weekend. It had no filtration except live rock in the over flow.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

+1 for testing for phosphates.  I would check the RO/DI water source before and after mixing salt, and check the levels in the tank before and after the change.

Sometimes when problems persist or get worse after 'big' water changes there is a problem with the water supply or the mix.

Sorry for your troubles.


  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, AcanLord said:

I had a 5 gallon pico for about 9 months. It ran beautifully the entire time. I just had to do 20% water changes every weekend. It had no filtration except live rock in the over flow.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

This typically should be enough for maintaining a great looking Nano, as biological filtration is extremely effective when not pushing the bio-load, though when Bubble Algae is introduced to a tank its no longer a matter of prevention, but control. Bad husbandry does not lead to bubble algae, not inspecting corals and frags, or lack of quarantine does.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Tyler E
      Last night my daughter broke a glowstick went all over the house woke up this morning to glowstick on the fishtank and it did this
      Have no other tank its a 50 gal mixed reef 
      Lay it on me how long do i have if not long who wants to buy some live stock

    • By NateDawg
      So this really odd thing is happening, I have about 30ish separate zoa/paly colonies in my tank and they are all doing very well except for one variety, I have rastas in two places, a colony on the frag rack and one on the zoa garden I put together. Both of them have shrunken polyps, not closed but just very shrunken polyps, and I just have no idea why they are shrinking, especially when both of them are doing the same thing and none of the other 29 varieties are having issues... Any thoughts/experiences?
    • By Sean.G
      So to keep things short my old light (Orbit USA Pro something or the other) broke, salt corroded a wire and I was not able to make a lasting repair on it. I'm trying to find some cheap lighting I can get away with for my ~2 foot cube (Reefer Nano) and I really just want to keep what I already have alive, all softies right now. Ideally I could keep some higher light requirement stuff towards the top of my tank but I'm looking for cheap not perfect. I don't really have a hard price limit, but around $150 is what I am trying to find. I've looked at T5 setups but the price of bulbs and need to replace them relatively often turns me off to them.
      Any advice appreciated.
    • By bamburgb
      Hi Everyone,
      So I am in the middle of purchasing a house and am kinda curious as to what people have found the best methods for moving there tanks with minimal stress on the fish and corals? Ill be moving a 180 gallon and also a 30 gallon. what equipment did you find was most helpful in the move? did you save most of the water or start from scratch?
      thanks for any advice
    • By Sasquatch
      Signs of zoa stress and how to fix it..
      1. Too much light or being trampled by hermits and snails they will close or look squished, maybe bruised. You want to move them to a darker lower spot or on a ledge that a shell cannot travel to easily

      :The red Zoas were in to strong of light and just the centers are showing, the bottom ones are all shut on one side, if these happen rearrange them until they reopen again
      :Either partial shade or lower down than before, sometimes if they reach to tall and look like trumpets it's to little of light. The far right is the same morph in proper lighting
      2. Algae can be the death of Zoas
      : you want to put it somewhere snails can graze, and get a clean up crew that eats the algae if you do not have hermits or a Seahare does great with green hair algae.
      : if the CUC isn't touching it, pull the algae out with your fingers if it's long enough, or frag up the zoa and clip off the rock surrounding the polyps till you have separated the polyps from the rock and reglue to a new clean live/dry rock
      3. Being stung by coral or worms, Sometimes you get spider webs inside the tank or so etching is eating your Zoas

      :The God or wars (right) are bleached and closed up, maybe have brown or black spots on them from where the Vermitid worm's spider web is stinging them, or maybe it's a sweeper from a coral it will look like this
      : super glue up the source of the spider webs, it should look like a feather duster hole with 2 antennae reaching out, or move the coral or zoa out of sweeping range.
      :This photo ^ also shows how I arrange a clear path for hermits to crawl around my Zoas and not over them, steep walls and frags on a plateau will keep them from climbing, but they need an easy route to travel on. (You can see the red skirt Zoas on the left look closed and bruised from being trampled over when the route was clogged with a plug)

      :Overhangs and channels need to be built in between your rockwork, and you can build in fences to make them go around the long way, see the rocks sticking up on the left used to be the climbing path.
  • Create New...